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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

An Education Deferred Reaps Gold for MC Alumna
Montgomery College Today, Fall 05

Montgomery College alumna Aimee TootseyIt’s never too late to go back to college. Just ask 37-year-old Montgomery College alumna Aimee Tootsey, who came to MC in 2001 after putting her college education on hold for 13 years to raise a family.

Tootsey transferred this fall to Hood College in Frederick, Md. Before she settled on Hood, however, the 2005 MC graduate weighed generous scholarship offers from Hood, and from McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. It’s no wonder both colleges wanted Tootsey. After all, she excelled in everything she took on while at MC. Through MC’s Paul Peck Humanities Institute partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, she interned twice at the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.

She was accepted to the Millennium Scholars, an honors program for part-time adult students at the Germantown Campus, which is held evenings and weekends. She received a full scholarship to the International Summer School at Cambridge University in Great Britain. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community college students. She was nominated for USA Today’s All-USA Academic Team.

And she managed to accomplish all these academic achievements, including a 3.75 grade point average, while enjoying time spent with her husband and daughters. “There is no way I could have achieved these accomplishments without their support,” she said.

In the Beginning
With an eye toward teaching and an interest in history, Tootsey first took an evening history course taught by Dr. Joseph Thompson. “I didn’t know what to expect as an adult student,” said Tootsey. “His knowledge and unique brand of instruction was inspiring; it jump-started my education,” she said.

Germantown Campus Professors Kurt Borkman and Joan Naake recommended Tootsey for the Millennium Scholars program. “I was going part-time and still working. Things started ratcheting up. I thought, ‘I can do this. I can be a teacher and teach my passion—European history.’” Tootsey admits that the Millennium Scholars courses were rigorous. “You’re not going to skate through this program,” she said. “Participating students were all juggling different balls; we all had different educational and career goals. But we pulled each other through the tough spots. We became a close-knit group. The program changed my life; it exposed me to new opportunities.”

Tootsey says the professors who taught the Millennium Scholars courses had a deep passion for their disciplines. “The professors made that program great because they had such passion,” she said, “so the students poured their hearts into it. The professors I have in the future will have a tough act to follow. “If you can take advantage of all the programs and academics and maximize them,” concludes Tootsey, “then MC is not a second choice education. I am extremely well prepared for Hood College.”